What BeePals Does
Rescuing Feral Honey Bees
Why save honey bees?
Bees are under threat of extinction.
The growth of giant mono-culture crop farms using chemical based agriculture has made it almost impossible for bees to survive in much of the U.S.A. The use of neonicotinoid pesticides, insidious poisons based on nicotine, add to the challenge. Loss of habitat to development eliminates possible places for wild bees to live. New pests and parasites, introduced by careless commerce from around the world, seek honey bees in their hives and attack bees where they live. Honey bees are in real trouble.
What has that got to do with me?
If you like to eat, you need the bees.
Bees and other pollinators are crucial to our survival as a species. About one hundred crops, making up around a third of the foods we eat, are produced through pollination.
Do you enjoy eating apples, almonds, avocados, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, cherries, cranberries, cucumbers, grapefruit, onions, oranges, peaches, pears, plums, pumpkins, raspberries, and watermelon? Without pollinators, these fruit would be impossible to produce on an affordable scale. We need the bees.
What does Bee Pals do about it?
I rescue honey bees and relocate them.
Bees are geniuses at what they do, but, as smart as they are, sometimes they put their house in the wrong place, and their neighbors (humans!) want to them to leave.
That is when I go to work. I gently remove the bees from where they are not wanted, place them in a hive where I can work with them, and locate them in a place where they are safe, wanted and appreciated. This will be in my apiary or in the garden of one of our bee hosts. I rescue and then work with the bees.
What is bee hosting?
Almost anyone with a yard can host a beehive.
If you want to help save the bees, consider hosting a hive. If you have a space as small as four feet by six feet in your yard, you could host a hive. You can do something to help the bees.
Bee Removal & Rescue
Swarms, Cut-outs, and Trap-outs
Bees usual method of reproducing
A swarm is part of a successful colony of bees that has split off and is looking for a new home to start a new colony. Swarms are the easiest bees to relocate, because they are already looking for a new home. Swarm removal is usually free or at low cost.
Removing bees quickly from structures or trees
A cut-out is cutting into a structure or tree, removing the bees, their young, and any food they have stored. The bees, their young, and their food stores are then placed in a standard beehive and moved to a new location. This method is traumatic but it does preserve the bees and allow them to continue and prosper. Cut-outs are charged on an hourly fee basis.
Removing bees at their own pace from structures or trees
A trap-out is accomplished by placing a one-way door on wherever the bees have been living and providing the bees with someplace to go when they cannot get back in. The place provided is called a bait-hive; the bees take up residence in this hive. When all the bees have moved out of the structure or tree and into the bait-hive, the hive is removed to somewhere that the bees are wanted. The structure or tree is then sealed to prevent re-entry by bees. A trap-out is very easy on the bees. Trap-outs are charged on an hourly fee basis.
MY APIARY & HOST-A-HIVE
Practicing treatment-free, natural cell, bee preservation focused beekeeping
My apiary in Sarasota, Florida
I give sanctuary to bees that have made their homes someplace that people do not want them. I gently remove them and place them somewhere that they are wanted.
Bees are under constant, manifold threat. Pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, imported exotic parasites, constantly mutating viruses, habitat loss due to development, and mono-culture chemical intensive agriculture are all problems for the bees. Those factors plus well-intended but uninformed folks who call the exterminator first and ask questions later, all combine to make today’s world a very hostile place for our pals Apis Mellifera, also known as the honey bee. Lucky for all of us and for the bees, you care, as you have demonstrated by your reading of this page.
Host-a-Hive in Sarasota, Florida
You can give honeybees a place to live. A space 4' by 6' is sufficient. I will take care of the bees.
I will come to your place and see if it is suitable. If suitable, I will advise and assist you with preparing your spot for bees. When I have rescued bees that need a place to live, I bring them to your place. After that, I will come by once a month to check on the bees. I own the bees and take responsibility for their upkeep and care. I charge you a monthly fee to cover my gas and hive maintenance costs while the bees are in your yard. If honey is harvested from this hive, you have the option of buying some at 40% off what my normal honey price is.
“Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Extracting honey from the honeycomb is a hands-on activity
Bees make honey from the nectar of a wide variety of flowers. They do this to preserve the flower sugars that provide the carbohydrate portion of their diet. They also collect pollen from just as many sources. Pollen provides the bees with protein. The variety of sources of pollen and nectar provides the bees with a balanced diet. They collect as much as they do so that they will have food to get through the winter. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? It is, and it has worked well ever since the appearance of bees and flowering plants during the Cretaceous era, for the last 130 million years.
Award Winning Honey
Commercial honey is usually taken from bees fed on sugar syrup, corn syrup, artificial pollen substitutes, and a host of laboratory/factory produced supplements. Additionally, commercial bees are usually treated with antibiotics and chemicals to deal with the malnutrition and stress induced illnesses that these bees are prone to have. Most of the problems that bees have come from changes we have made in the environment. We then try to assist the bees with the problems we have caused. We have currently assisted the honeybee to the edge of extinction.
In my apiary, the bees eat nothing but honey and pollen. I never use antibiotics or chemicals on my bees. This approach is called treatment-free beekeeping. The idea is to let the bees adapt to challenges in their environment, breed stronger bees, and allow the bees to survive the Anthropocene era.
I collect honey from my hived bees only when there is a definite surplus. The honey produced in my home apiary is usually dark in color. When I relocate a feral colony, if there is excess honeycomb that cannot be re-set in frames, I will collect the honey. The honey from feral colonies varies in color.
When I collect honey, I hand crush honeycomb that has darkened over seasons and spin extract the frames of newer honeycomb. I put the honey through a strainer to take out excess wax, bees’ knees, and hive debris. I put the honey in bottles, and that is all I do. This makes for a honey that is particularly rich in pollen with distinctive floral flavor that is singular. The honey I harvest is very special. You will taste the difference extra care makes.
I use the money from honey sales to underwrite the costs of rescuing and maintaining the bees. Please call or text me at 941-866-0233 if you would like to buy some honey to support the bees.
SERIOUSLY ENTERTAINING EDUCATION
Students are enthralled with bee behavior. Seeing children's initial fear of bees turn into wonderment and curiosity is one of the best parts of my job. A glass-walled observation hive, a log that was once home to a wild colony, a variety of tools, and hive products are some of the items I bring to my presentations. Presentations are free. Call me.
"Let's learn about Bees!" at Southside Elementary
I am happy to make presentations about bees, beekeeping, and honey to your school, organization, or group. Please call or text me at 941-866-0233.
WHO I AM
Bee Pal Extraordinaire
I am dedicated to the survival of honey bees. I rescue bees from extermination. I educate the next generation about the environmental importance of bees. I help bees survive the winter. When there's a surplus, I extract honey.
HOW TO FIND ME
The bees and I work in Sarasota, Florida
A portrait of Tom Mawn
and the bees
by local artist, Graciela Giles